Today is September 27 and the Navigate the Chaos question to consider is “how often do you hold an unshakeable faith in yourself?” Holding an unshakeable faith in yourself is a strategy people use in conjunction with other strategies as they navigate the chaos of life. While waiting for someone else to have faith in you is also an available strategy, doing so empowers others to have some degree of control over your ability to translate your dreams into reality. When you hold an unshakeable faith in yourself you maintain the power over your own circumstances and realize you, and you alone, are the only one who can leverage your mind, body, and spirit to navigate the chaos.
In today’s post Jason Cohen believed in himself while he trained for long-distance races, Ann Dowd held an unshakable faith in herself as she pursued an acting career, and Alex Katz maintained a staunch belief in himself as he learned to become an artist. One of the dynamics involved with having an unshakable faith in yourself is the ability to accept the fact that everyone has a different starting date and comparison is the thief of joy; both of which are topics for other Navigate the Chaos posts. If you feel as though you are too old, or find yourself jealous of others, then implementing this strategy of holding an unshakeable faith in yourself will be rather difficult.
Cohen once weighed over 300lbs and thought he was destined for a life of obesity. He then decided to lose over 120lbs and started to compete in ultramarathons which are running events that exceed the 26.2 miles of a marathon. When asked what advice he would give others Cohen said “Believe in yourself and know that the hard work will be worth it. I had always believed I would be overweight for the rest of my life. I put limitations on my potential. Anyone can do what I have done and there is nothing special about me. The only difference between myself and someone else is our starting date.”
Award winning actor Ann Dowd was 56 years old when she landed a role in the 2012 movie Compliance that would shift her career. In 2014 she was cast in the HBO series The Leftovers and in 2017, she began playing Aunt Lydia on the Hulu series The Handmaid's Tale. Through the decades of navigating bit parts and heartbreak Dowd said she “had an unshakable faith that all would work out” and told the audience in one speech to “Keep your love story alive—and by love story, I mean the love you have for the work that you do—for it is a pure and powerful dynamic, and it will sustain you.”
Alex Katz is American figurative artist best known for his portraiture and landscapes. In 2019, one of his paintings, Ada and Louise (1987), set a new record for his work at auction selling for over $1 million. Asked about how he sees his body of work as a whole, Katz says, “You have to realize when I started, I couldn’t draw. I learned how to draw, and I learned modern art, and I learned cubism. I never thought I’d be painting as well as I’m painting now. It was beyond my comprehension. I had no idea I was going to be this good.”
Cohen, Dowd, and Katz all figured out a way to start despite not knowing how good they were going to be and never looked back. For today’s reflection is it important to remember that having an unshakeable faith in yourself alone is not enough to help you translate one dream after another into reality. As mentioned earlier in this post, you will need to couple this strategy with some of the others mentioned in this blog series. For example, you can have an unshakeable faith in yourself while also practicing the strategies of reminding yourself you are the master of your circumstances and finding new ideas playful. There are dozens of strategies you can couple together as you maintain an unshakeable faith in yourself. It would be helpful to remind yourself of your options as you navigate the chaos today.
How often do you believe in yourself?
How often do you maintain the belief that the hard work will be worth it?
How often are you placing limitations on your potential.
Can you allow yourself to accept that everyone has a different starting date?
Do you hold an unshakable faith that all will work out?
Who or what is preventing you from having an unshakable faith in yourself?
What are you doing to keep your love story alive?
What sustains you?
How often do you want to start something new, then stop yourself because you realize you are not good at it?